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Election Day: LA voters head to polls to choose new mayor

Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel are seen voting on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.
March 5, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
The big race in Los Angeles is the mayoral election Tuesday, where the list of five main candidates will likely be narrowed to two. Residents also voted on a controversial ballot measure and several other city positions.

As of 12:10 a.m. Wednesday, Eric Garcetti had 34 percent of the vote and Wendy Greuel had 29 percent of the vote. Jan Perry trailed in third place with 17 percent and Kevin James had 14 percent.

Despite who comes out on top, there's an expectation that no one will win a majority, forcing a two-person runoff election. That is expected to take place May 21.

Both Garcetti and Greuel declared they'd be the winner in speeches late Tuesday.

"The creativity and the genius that is Los Angeles, we will bring back, and that's what I'm going to do as the next mayor of Los Angeles," Garcetti said to his supporters.

"We are 11 weeks from making history, electing the first woman mayor, and of course, first mom for the mayor of the greatest city of Los Angeles," Greuel told a group of supporters.

Polls opened at 7 a.m., and voters trickled in to cast their vote. The polls closed at 8 p.m. Voter turnout was not expected to be high, projected to be about 20 percent.

With a slight lead in the polls, City Controller Greuel knows every vote counts. She cast her ballot in Studio City in the morning.

"Please go out and vote. It is important. Your everyday lives are impacted by who is on the ballot today," Greuel said.

Until now, Councilman Garcetti had led the race for mayor, but Greuel took the lead by 2 percentage points in the latest Eyewitness News SurveyUSA poll. The difference is still within the survey's margin of error.

Fellow City Hall regular Councilwoman Perry cast her vote, hoping to move up out of the No. 4 spot. She trailed the only Republican in the race, former prosecutor James. James said he's still optimistic about the undecided voters.

"What's key about that poll is that you still have a large, undecided number, and you have 46 percent that said that they could be persuaded to change their vote," James said Monday.

In the race for city attorney, incumbent Carmen Trutanich voted Tuesday in Harbor City, while Assemblyman Mike Feuer voted at the Writers Guild of America in Los Angeles. An exclusive Eyewitness News poll conducted by SurveyUSA shows Trutanich trailed Feuer 26 to 28 percent.

Voters also chose the next city controller; weighing in on Proposition A, a measure to raise Los Angeles' sales tax by a half cent; and three open seats on the Los Angeles Unified School District school board.

"City elections, unfortunately, are rather slow because people just don't get excited about them, although they should be because all politics is local," said Kathryn Myrick, a polling volunteer.

But that doesn't mean there isn't a slew of problems and challenges voters expect the next mayor to try and fix.

"I'm mainly concerned about the education system and getting more funding to the schools," one voter said.


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